Best World Cup apps for Brazil 2014: iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry
You only need turn on the TV and you're are inundated at the moments by advert after advert featuring a football or Brazilian flavour, or both. Yep, it's almost time for the 2014 World Cup to start and what better way to get in the mood than to fill your smartphone or tablet with a bunch of dedicated or football themed applications.
Some are official, some help you track the progress of your favourite team or teams, and all of them come highly recommended by the Pocket-lint team.
ESPN FC Football & World Cup
ESPN has recently redesigned and relaunched its football website in time for the World Cup and its football specific application has been rejigged to include the tournament. You can set your favourite team or teams to get curated news and there is reaction and analysis from Brazil by the ESPN team out there.
Exhaustive details on each team is available, with a score centre, the current group tables and fixtures and ESPN's Now service, which presents related tweets about the event, also easily selected via a simple tag system.
Best of all, of course, is that it's free.
Panini Online Sticker Album
The official Panini sticker albums for World Cups in the past were a staple for young footy fans as we grew up. Now of course, we live in an era where digital publishing is overtaking (has overtaken) print, so Panini has moved with the times to release a fully digital version of the album.
Although you can still get the printed sticker book too, the digital one is effectively the same, except it exchanges the thrill of opening a fresh pack of stickers (you just tap the screen to get one) with smooth animations and interesting social media features. You can swap your stickers with friends, as is traditional, but it's all done online.
The app also syncs with the website version, so if you don't have one of the compatible devices, you can still set up your own album.
Although the mobile version of the latest in EA's footy franchise has been around for a while, the free-to-play game has received an officially licensed World Cup update that adds the ability to play as any of World Cup teams and their up-to-date squads.
The final kits to be used during the tournament have also been added, as is the official Adidas Brazuca ball that will be used in Brazil. However, it isn't as wide an update as the next-generation console versions as there is currently no dedicated Ultimate Team mode.
An app more for the England fans actually travelling to the tournament. Brazinglish is a themed (sort-of) tranlastion app for the iPhone that is pre-loaded with a number of spoken phrases in Portuguese and English. The phrases are all fairly relevant to the sort of situations in which a fan might find him or herself.
To be honest, while some are useful, the app is more designed to be a bit of a giggle, with phrases such as “Group of Death” (“Grupo Da Morte”) and some that are genuinely laugh out load funny.
If you want to watch the tournament when out and about and are based in the UK, BBC iPlayer is a must. Half the matches leading up to final and the final itself will be shown by the BBC and they will therefore be available to view live through iPlayer.
The BBC Sport app would be a great companion app to download too, as it will have a dedicated World Cup zone that keeps track of the matches in content rich ways.
After you've downloaded BBC iPlayer ensure you also have the ITV Player app too. The other half the matches up to the final and the final itself will be shown on ITV in the UK, so they will be available through the broadcasters own on demand service.
Sadly, BlackBerry phone owners will miss the opportunity as, unlike BBC iPlayer, there is no ITV Player app for their devices.
Ah, the dreaded penalty shoot-out. If England manage to scrape through their grupo da morte it's a safe bet that one of the knockout matches will see them back on the plane home after yet another gruelling penalty shoot-out.
Perfect Kick is one of the better games to emulate the practice, with Facebook integration and the ability to take on real-world players. It has recently been updated to include World Cup teams and a bit of Brazilian flare.
Football Manager 2014 Handheld
Football Manager has never needed a World Cup update as the game has always offered the ability to take on international management and therefore get the opportunity to guide the nation to World Cup glory.
Although it's a bit more basic and more geared to the casual gamer than the full PC version of FM 2014, this is quite simply the most involving and in-depth football management game available on mobile devices at present (unless you have the recently released equivalent for PS Vita, which adds the 3D match engine for good measure). It's pricey, but it's a game you'll come back more often than most that currently clog up your homescreens.
Brazil - World Football Finals
Like ESPN's application, Brazil – World Cup Finals is essentially a statistic and data centre for the tournament. However, this particular app goes even further with the amount of information available.
You can find out about the venues the games will be played in, see top scorer tables, get information on cities in Brazil and much, much more. The app also has information about all the qualification matches that preceded the World Cup Finals.
It's really nicely presented too, with a clean, simple interface.